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How To Deal With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Theres currently no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, nor have prescription drugs been developed to relieve the condition. Healthcare providers instead talk about managing CFSa challenge because it affects each patient in a different way. Plus, symptoms can vary over time, further complicating matters.

The most effective treatment of CFS, experts say, involves a team approach: doctors who specialize in different areas working with the patient himself. By working together, they have a better chance of creating a customized treatment program.

Doctors typically set out to relieve the most disruptive symptoms in a chronic fatigue syndrome patient. For example, some patients may experience a serious sleep disorder as one of their symptoms, whether its insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or nocturnal myoclonus . A sleep specialists treatment might involve the establishment of a hard-and-fast bedtime routine, the elimination of napping during the day, regular exercise, and the avoidance of caffeine after lunch and of alcohol and tobacco altogether.

If those steps dont resolve sleep issuesif the patient is still experiencing unrefreshing sleepdoctors may test for sleep apnea or narcolepsy and/or prescribe medication.

What Is The Latest Research On Me/cfs

Today, we have a better understanding of ME/CFS, but researchers are still searching for the cause. ME/CFS is sometimes seen in members of the same family, perhaps because of a genetic link. Researchers are also testing a variety of treatments for ME/CFS, including anti-viral medications and medications that affect the immune system.

Researchers also are looking at ways to help health care providers identify and diagnose ME/CFS more quickly. HHS currently supports a study led by the Institute of Medicine to recommend improved and updated criteria to help physicians make a diagnosis of ME/CFS. The IOM’s recommendations may also guide future research.

What Can I Expect

Having chronic fatigue syndrome can be hard. But for most people, the symptoms are most severe in the beginning. Later, they may come and go. Teens with CFS generally get better faster and recover more completely than adults do. Most teens get partial or full recovery within 5 years after symptoms began.

Many new and experimental treatments for CFS are available. But don’t use any unproven treatments until checking with your doctor.

CFS is a misunderstood illness. But scientists continue to learn about it through research and clinical trials. They’re trying to better understand its symptoms and causes in kids and teens.

Good medical care and coping techniques are the keys to helping your child manage chronic fatigue syndrome. It can also help to find support sites and groups, such as:

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Keep An Eye On Your Mental Health

This one is really important. Many people with CFS suffer from some form of mental health problem.

Whether or not these illnesses just have a tendency to occur side by side or whether sufferers of CFS are more prone to mental health issues because of the strain the illness puts on their life hasnt been determined yet.

But its a problem for many people, and you should talk to someone if your mood gets low, as theres no need to be ashamed.

Doing your best to keep a positive outlook and having friends and family to support you are the most important things, but cognitive behavioural therapy can help some people to deal with their illness better, helping with not just your mood but how to pace yourself so you dont burn out.

Change The Things You Can

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No doubt, when an illness barges into your life unannounced and takes up residence, it can leave you feeling angry, defeated, and powerless. For me, there came a point, though, where those feelings needed to take a back seat to a more constructive focus on the things I could change. For example, I could be a mom. I could take tai chi, and I could pursue a new career in writing. These are things I find enjoyable, fulfilling, and, best of all, my mother-in-law finds them quite agreeable too!

If one thing has become clear over my journey with this illness, its that we are all called to make the best of our living situations. Who knows? One day I might wake up and my metaphorical roommate may have found herself other accommodations. But, safe to say, Im not holding my breath. For today, Im happy to make the best of it and take the lessons as they come. How do you deal with chronic fatigue syndrome? Share your experiences with me!

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Set Priorities For Improvement

Some people can hinder their recovery by trying to become their normal selves in every aspect of their life straight away.

What you really need to do is work out what the most important things in life are to you and what you want to achieve, and deal with these as a priority over the less significant ones.

You can use a profit and loss system, where you give something an importance rating out of a hundred, and then give it a difficulty rating . Try and do the things that will leave you in profit first.

You Wont Win Every Battle

My metaphorical mother-in-law is a formidable character. There will definitely be bad times that in CFS-speak we call relapse. When this happens, I cant stress enough the power of accepting defeat as the first step towards recovery. For my own sake, I use these times to drink a lot of tea with the MIL, reassure her that everything will be OK, and convince her to watch Downton Abbey with me until shes ready to bury the hatchet.

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Failure To Identify The Cause

If youve gone through the barrage of testing and were unable to determine any direct causal factors, it doesnt mean that your chronic fatigue cannot be dealt with or improved. Those that are unable to identify the direct cause may need to do some self-experimentation to find out what actually helps raise energy levels and ultimately what methods you can use to overcome the condition. You dont need to accept the reality of functioning in sloth-mode for your entire life.

Guessing the cause: Even though you may have ruled out many medical conditions that could be causing the problem, it is important to still attempt to figure out what factors may be contributing to your chronic fatigue. In other words, think back to the time when the condition developed what changed in your life that may have depleted your energy.

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CFS can be debilitating both physically and mentally. Suffering from persistent exhaustion, reduced brain cognition, chronic muscle and joint pain, stress, and even guilt takes a toll on the body, and psyche.

Long-term stress control and relaxation must be a vital portion of any protocol used to overcome chronic fatigue syndrome. While seemingly impossible, its imperative that sufferers of CFS do their best to effectively manage stress, and rest.

The Power of Rest

Rest means more than just sleep. Dedicate one day per week when you dont have any responsibilities or commitments. Truly commit to a full day of rest. This gives your body and mind a much-needed respite helping to fight stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Its also important during the week, if you are having a particularly difficult day, to not overtax yourself.

While regular exercise supports wellness and helps to diminish stress, individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome need to exercise at a controlled intensity. High-intensity workouts can leave you drained for several days.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise therapy has been shown to help with fatigue, mental clarity and depression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. According to a study released in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, individuals with CFS were recommended to perform aerobic activities, at the clinic twice per month, in combination with at-home exercises for roughly 5-15 minutes in duration, five days per week.

Sleep

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Sleep Rest And Relaxation

You may have sleep problems that make your ME/CFS symptoms worse. For example, you may:

  • have problems getting to sleep
  • have unrefreshing or restless sleep
  • need an excessive amount of sleep
  • sleep during the day and be awake at night

You should be given advice about how to establish a normal sleeping pattern. Having too much sleep does not usually improve the symptoms of ME/CFS, and sleeping during the day can stop you sleeping at night.

You should change your sleep pattern gradually, and your doctor should review how it’s going regularly. If your sleep does not improve after making changes, you may have an underlying sleep problem that will need to be addressed.

It’s likely you’ll need to rest during the day, and your doctor should advise you about the best way to do this. For example, they may suggest limiting each rest period to 30 minutes and teach you relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises.

If you have severe ME/CFS and need to spend much of your time in bed, it can cause problems, including pressure sores and blood clots. These problems, and how to avoid them, should be explained to you and your carers.

What Fatigue Really Feels Like

Think about these scenarios:

  • You had the flu and it knocked you out for a short period. You were too sick to get much done, and definitely too sick to work or play with your children.
  • You had too much fun and a few too many drinks one night, then couldnt get off the couch the entire next day. You felt so weak and tired that you had to call in sick with some made-up illness.

Chronic fatigue resembles these situations, but its worse because it doesnt get better with medicine, rest, caffeine, a greasy breakfast, or time.

Indeed, Dr. Barlett told me that Im not alone in these descriptions.

People with RA will often describe their fatigue as a feeling of being completely wiped out or utterly exhausted or how I feel when Im coming down with the flu, she says. This type of fatigue does not seem to improve with sleep or rest, and very often is a sign that disease activity is increasing. Indeed, in work we did across many countries, almost everyone we spoke with mentioned extreme fatigue as the first and most reliable signs that they are about to have a serious disease flare.

Our fatigue is always there, nagging away.

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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A treatment plan for CFS aims to relieve your symptoms to improve your quality of life. The plan should include:

  • a plan for how to manage stress
  • a very gentle exercise plan
  • a nutritious diet, with regular meals/snacks to keep up your energy
  • supplements if your diet lacks a good balance or if your blood tests indicate deficiencies
  • a sleep management plan, which may include medication
  • physiotherapy to help with pain and good breathing techniques
  • medication for pain
  • psychological input if you are particularly stressed or depressed.

What Are The Treatments For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How to Cope with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There is no cure or approved treatment for CFS, but you may be able to treat or manage some of your symptoms. You, your family, and your health care provider should work together to decide on a plan. You should figure out which symptom causes the most problems and try to treat that first. For example, if sleep problems affect you the most, you might first try using good sleep habits. If those do not help, you may need to take medicines or see a sleep specialist.

Strategies such as learning new ways to manage activity can also be helpful. You need to make sure that you do not “push and crash.” This can happen when you feel better, do too much, and then get worse again.

Since the process of developing a treatment plan and attending to self-care can be hard if you have CFS, it is important to have support from family members and friends.

Don’t try any new treatments without talking to your health care provider. Some treatments that are promoted as cures for CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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See A Psychiatrist Or Therapist

If symptoms of chronic fatigue sound similar to symptoms of depression thats because theres often a lot of crossover between the two. Experiencing fatigue can make you feel depressed and feeling depressed can promote feelings of fatigue, which creates a vicious cycle, Dr. Cohen says. Getting treated for depression and/or anxiety can make a big difference in how well you can cope with fatigue, she says. A psychiatrist, preferably one who specializes in chronic diseases, can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues, especially when medication is necessary.

How Is Cfs Diagnosed

CFS is a very challenging condition to diagnose.

According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS occurs in about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. Its estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent have yet to receive a diagnosis.

There are no medical tests to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Many people with CFS dont look sick, so doctors may not recognize that they indeed have a health condition.

In order to receive a CFS diagnosis, your doctor will rule out other potential causes and review your medical history with you.

Theyll confirm that you at least have the core symptoms previously mentioned. Theyll also ask about the duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue.

Ruling out other potential causes of your fatigue is a key part of the diagnosis process. Some conditions with symptoms that resemble those of CFS include:

  • severe obesity
  • sleep disorders

The side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can mimic symptoms of CFS as well.

Because of the similarities between symptoms of CFS and many other conditions, its important to not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They can work with you to get relief.

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Theres Tired And Then Theres Fatigue Lets Not Mistake The Two

Fatigue is one of the most challenging symptoms of chronic illness to cope with. This is something we hear from CreakyJoints members over and over and over again.My worst problem is fatigue. I need all my energy just to get through my eight hours of work and when thats over I have none left to do anything else, Elena K. told us recently on Facebook.Fatigue is robbing me of the energy I wanted to use on all the projects I had planned for retirement, shared Beverly K. on Facebook.

Managing Your Expectations: Three Steps

Coping with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – how to still LIVE your life!

Part of accepting the situation is managing your expectations. For example, say you used to go for bike rides, do some hiking, maybe take a canoe out on the river. You’ll have to change your expectations about how you will spend your leisure time together. If the sick person has to leave their job, it could mean shifting expectations about your financial future, as well.

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Ask About Flexible Work Arrangements

On days when the fatigue overwhelms Marco, he has the option of working from home. Its not an option for everyone but if you think your job might allows it, its worth asking about it, he says. My boss is pretty understanding and I try to limit it to days when the flare-ups are really bad, he explains. My last boss would never have let me do it though, so it really is about your office culture. Here are more tips for navigating work with chronic illness.

What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Symptoms of CFS often mimic the flu. The following are the most common symptoms of CFS. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Low-grade fever
  • Depression

The symptoms of CFS may look like other medical conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test: What You Need To Know

Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect anyone, including children. However, it is most common in adult women. A doctor may rule out other conditions or causes before they can identify this condition. This is because a chronic fatigue syndrome test is not yet established to sufficiently diagnose the condition. Furthermore, a doctor may use different medical equipment to support this diagnosis. This article will discuss chronic fatigue syndrome and how a doctor can treat this condition.

Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect anyone, including children. However, it is most common in adult women. A doctor may rule out other conditions or causes before they can identify this condition. This is because a chronic fatigue syndrome test is not yet established to sufficiently diagnose the condition. Furthermore, a doctor may use different medical equipment to support this diagnosis. This article will discuss chronic fatigue syndrome and how a doctor can treat this condition.

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Test For Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

ATP is necessary for energy production for all body functions.

In a study with 71 patients with CFS and 53 healthy controls, a highly significant correlation was observed between the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction and the severity of illness. Go here for more about this potential CFS test.

A test for ATP can be done at Biolab, London, UK. See below.

Please note that you may test as having normal mitochondrial function and still have a diagnosis of CFS/ME.

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Support Your Immune System

Chronic infections may be an underlying cause of chronic fatigue, but they are widely undiagnosed.

What to do: In addition to getting tested for underlying infections, consider blends of Siberian ginseng, samento, sarsaparilla, guaiacum, astragalus, resveratrol, and cat’s claw for their immune-strengthening properties.

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